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Why Atlanta makes the playoffs, while Boston and NY won’t...

Thrash.jpgBoston Bruins vs. New York Rangers 12:30 p.m. EST - Sunday, March 21, 2010 Live on NBC

Let’s face it. The Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers are flailing. While they tread water and fail to actually grasp hold and take charge of the situation they’ve each been given the Atlanta Thrashers have snuck up behind them. The Thrashers are now in prime position to overtake both the Rangers and Bruins for the 8th spot in the East, while the two teams seem intent on throwing lame, half-hearted efforts at the opposition at the most crucial part of the season.

The Bruins and Rangers are both facing a loss of leadership but for two completely different reasons.

The Bruins have had all the life sucked out of them ever since the Marc Savard incident, and the fact that they couldn’t even muster a single ounce of motivation, at home, against the Pittsburgh Penguins speaks volumes about how out of it their locker room is. This isn’t a team ready to make the playoffs; this isn’t even a team that deserves to make the playoffs.

I understand it’s not fair that the Bruins have to deal with such an ugly injury to one of their top players, but use that as motivation; not as a tool that forces the team to just spiral out of control and flush the season down the toilet. Of course, the Bruins had the worst offense in the NHL and no matter how well Tuukka Rask might play, he can’t score goals.

The New York Rangers are dealing with a similar lack of leadership, but what gets me is that it seems that John Tortorella is intent on actually squashing any form of leadership that comes from his locker room. Although I would guess that he’d rather the leaders on his team start scoring goals and put the effort on the ice, not just spouting off to the media.

The Rangers are a team with a lot of money tied up in mediocre players, and just don’t have the skill necessary to make sudden push into the playoffs. The Rangers have had numerous opportunities the past week to make up ground on the Bruins as they’ve faltered and have mustered just the same lame duck efforts as the team in front of them.

All the while the Atlanta Thrashers have started to build momentum and creep up on the two floundering teams. It seemed as though Atlanta was out of the playoff picture with a devastating losing streak coming out of the break, yet the struggles by the Bruins and Rangers have given them a shot. So while those two teams struggle, the Thrashers are building momentum.

If a Thashers team without Ilya Kovalchuk can overtake the Rangers and Bruins, and it certainly looks like a possibility at this point, then both teams from the Northeast should hang their heads and shame and expect change to be on the way. This is the time of year when the best teams show what they’re made of; Boston and New York appear to be made of nothing but fluff.